Europe's Cold War: the 1945 – 1950 Bridge of Bitterness Essay

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After the end of World War II, the United States and USSR were the only two remaining powers in the world. Europe, which was now in shambles, was left with a power vacuum, from which both the U.S. and the USSR would vie for control. At the world's end, although the friendly wartime alliance between the U.S. and USSR turned inimical, both countries were not looking for another war. The United States, although not as damaged as other countries, saw the destruction of fighting two major world wars within the same generation. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, having experienced both World Wars, and the Russian Revolution – all of which thoroughly devastated their borders, land and people, wanted to protect and secure their boundaries first …show more content…
To America, these Soviet actions were a great indication of aggressive Soviet clout. And to the United States, these actions not only warranted a closer inspection of Soviet actions in relation to its words, but also a new foreign policy of containment. From such actions, it seemed that the United States had to adopt a policy to combat Soviet action. While the Soviets and Stalin asseverated one thing, the United States saw that the Soviet's actions were another. Kennan's retort to this Soviet aggression was his paper, "The Sources of Soviet Conduct," from which he designed the policy of ‘containment.' In this policy, Kennan argued that, "in these circumstances it is clear that the main element of any United States' policy toward the Soviet Union must be that of a long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies." (Judge, Langdon 33) What is to be duly noted in Kennan's assertion is the patience that was to accompany any action towards the Soviet Union from the United States. Furthering his reason for resolute patience was the direct inculcation against any amount of histrionics that would offer bolstering threats that would connote unnecessary "outward ‘toughness.'" (Judge, Langdon 33) The Soviets were, in any case, "by far the weaker party," and "may well contain deficiencies which will eventually weaken its total potential." (Judge, Langdon 36) Kennan

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